okay, this is the true story of how nikolai and kelanie met. there was a knock at the door
okay, this is the true story of how nikolai and kelanie met.
there was a knock at the door.
nikolai looked up from the screen of the PC that was
attack-dialing `the cafe'. there was a blurry shape on the screen
of the monitor that showed who was at the front door. he found
the call button for the pa system, thumbed it and muttered,
`what is it?' a tinny voice crackled,
`gotta package for ya.' the Predator Saint (sigh)ed, got up and
started climbing over piles of clothes, intermingled with power
and data cables, untidy stacks of japanese comics and airbrush
art, to the front door. he opened it to the limit that the
security chain would allow, peered through (wincing at the first
glimpse of natural light that he had seen in a week). the courier
was supporting a large box made of molded white plastic, about
the size and shape of a small coffin; he reached around to hold
out a clipboard for nikolai to sign. `down the bottom, yeah,
there.' nikolai scrawled `foghorn leghorn' in illegible cursive
cyrillic (a trick he had picked up from a south american
revolutionary by the name of Kilpatrick) and said,
`just leave it there, okay?' the courier shifted nervously from
one foot to the other and said,
`waaaal, i'm s'posed ta -' he was cut off by a blood-curdling
scream from nikolai's bedroom. `oh right. bye!'
`hey, it's just my-' but the coward had made good his escape.
`... my computer... oh well...' when he was sure that the courier
had gone, he unbolted the chain, opened the door and tried to
shift the case. it was heavier than it looked.
he managed to get it over on its side, but refrained from
tipping it over further when he saw `this side up' stamped on the
top of the case. with a great deal of awkwardly-applied effort,
he eventually got the case into the bedroom. he lit another
incense stick, took another snort of nitrous oxide and instructed
his machine to stop dialing `the cafe'. it let off another
sampled scream (it was a randomly-occurring background task).
`okay, what have we got here?' he picked the invoice off the
front of the case. he (sigh)ed again when he read the address...
it was another package for `nicola ingsley', who had lived next
door for years until the neighbors, who had long suspected her
of witchcraft, had dragged her from her bubblebath and burned her
at the stake. he recalled that she hadn't burned very well.
checking the invoice for an address, he found only `Lazar's
Android Works' and an address in Mendocino, California. `well,
phornication, i'm not going to send it back... le'see what we got
he forced the edge of a sacrificial knife into the seam that
marked the edge of the case's lid, and broke some sort of
air-tight seal, as it suddenly came free with a hiss and the
smell of newly-minted polymers. he tossed the lid to one side,
but picked it up when he saw a 3-1/2 inch floppy disk stuck to
the inside. he picked it off and inserted it into his machine.
`okay... mount DI0:...'
`general failure reading drive A:... abort, retry, fail?'
`putrefaction... it must be an atari or macintosh disk. well, in
that case, it can't be very important...' he returned his
attention to the case. under several layers of foam wrapping, he
`oh my... there's a girl in my mail...'
she was about sixteen, he estimated, short blonde hair, and
completely naked. nikolai put his hand to her forehead; it felt
flesh-like, but cold, so...
`... so, either someone in california is doing a brisk trade in
corpses, or...' he looked at the invoice again:
======================================= ship to:
L A Z A R S A N D R O I D W O R K S nicola insgley
======================================= 121 thames promenade
the *best* in digital reality chelsea 3196
order #154391754 victoria, AUST
1 x KEL (Y)-model rev 4.1 warning: do not immerse
....................$77,550.95 in hydrofluoric acid!!!
`(phew)! seventy seven and a half thou! pretty expensive for a
store dummy!' he touched her hand, lifted it out of the packing.
the fingers moved just as a person's should. he began to have
some definitely un-saintly ideas as he lifted her out of the
case. he lay her face down on the bed, examining her back for a
floppy disk drive slot (or even a keyhole). nothing. unless...
`no, that's disgusting. Predator saints simply don't have
thoughts like that.'
he found a number for Lazar's support BBS in an autodialler list
he got from the BananaLand Arts Irredentist Movement in 1991, so
he supposed that it was still current, and called it. as it was
three in the morning in california, he doubted that he'd have any
trouble getting on. which he didn't, although as an unregistered
user, he only had fifteen minutes to realise that there was
nothing on the BBS that mentioned a `KEL, (Y) model'. with one
minute left, he paged the Sysop.
** Congratulations, the Sysop has decided that you, the mere
mortal are somehow worthy of the honor of personalized
attention and is breaking in for a chat!
hello kingsley, how can E help?
> look ive just had a box delivered with a KEL (Y) model, what the
> hell is it?
oh, E are not familiar with that model, butter its an android,
y know, simulated personality. anything else youd li
TWENTY SECONDS LEFT TODAY
ke to know?
> HOW DO I TURN HER ON????
what a stupid question! blow in her ear take her to a movie
yll figure something out prince charming :-)
CÚ>à6Õ£TÀ½ NO CARRIER
`shit' he muttered, for a moment lapsing into un-saintly
vulgarity. for a moment, he thought that she was watching him. he
tried to see her reflection in the monitor, and then whirled
around in his Hans Rudi Giger `Harkonnenstuhl'. she was still
lying face down on his bed.
he turned her over and sat down next to her. he turned her head
to one side, noting the realistic way her neck-muscles moved.
`i can see why they charge seventy-seven and a half thousand
dollars for you.' feeling rather silly, he leaned down and blew
softly in her ear. nothing. `hello folks? calling folks? testing,
one, two, three, four? newshell from s:shell-startup?' still
nothing. he admired the curve of her pale lips in profile, turned
her head back to face him. his index finger brushed her lips, and
on impulse, he tugged at her jaw carefully. her mouth opened,
revealing a completely authentic-looking set of teeth and the tip
of a pink tongue. his eyes widened in appreciation.
he sat there for almost thirty seconds, holding his breath,
then, with some embarrassment and self-consciousness, he bent
down and brushed his lips against hers lightly. still nothing.
exasperated, he grabbed her shoulders and kissed her. as his
tongue pressed against hers, he heard a click deep inside her,
and felt a soft breath against his face. he drew back in alarm as
she shuddered fitfully like a hard disk spinning up, and closed
her mouth with a sound exactly like a 3-1/2 inch floppy disk being
inserted into a drive. her eyes opened. they were a brilliant
green colour. she regarded him blankly for a moment, then smiled
slowly, which nikolai found somehow sinister. he backed away
further and fell over the packing crate. when he got up, she
hadn't moved. he approached her cautiously. she had closed her
eyes again, but she could somehow sense his approach, because
when he got within range, she leapt up, threw her arms around him
and kissed him. he tried frantically to disengage, but her arms
around his neck held his head securely. as the seconds passed, he
realised that he couldn't breathe with this machine fastened to
his face, and he renewed his struggles, to no avail. after about
four minutes, his struggles began to weaken. after six minutes,
they ceased entirely as he lost consciousness. kel(y) released
him, covered him with a blanket and cleaned up the bedroom.
This file is Copyright (c) Nikolai Kingsley, 1995. Unlimited
electronic reproduction and one hard-copy per user is permitted, for
non-profit use, providing that this notice is left intact.
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